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Crispy Baked Tofu

How do you guys feel about tofu? It seems to be one of those foods that people either love or hate. Growing up, the only exposure I had to tofu was the little cubes floating in miso soup. Once I got to college, where my interest in health and nutrition blossomed, I began eating and cooking tofu. I’ve never disliked it, but I understand why somebody may have a bad experience with it. The texture is unique, and when eaten on its own is very bland. One thing I’m quite proud of is getting Ben to willingly eat tofu, and enjoy it! I always make a flavorful sauce, so it really just becomes a vehicle for that.

Soy based foods are some of the most controversial in the food and nutrition world. Why? Soy contains high concentrations of isoflavones, which are a type of plant estrogen (phytoestrogens). Phytoestrogens can have similar effects as human estrogen on the human body, but much weaker. The isoflavones in soy can bind to estrogen receptors in our bodies, causing very weak estrogenic effects OR anti-estrogenic effects. Because of this, there has been concern that soy foods may increase the risk of certain hormonal cancers. However, several studies have shown that soy consumption is associated with lower risk of breast cancer, both hormone positive and hormone negative. Studies also show that soy intake is significantly associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer in men.

I enjoy soy based foods such as edamame, tofu and tempeh, and based on the research, they are safe to consume! Soy has many health benefits, being a high quality source of plant-based protein. Unlike many other plant-based proteins like beans and legumes, soy is a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is low in saturated fat, so it is an excellent replacement for red and processed meat in the diet. It also contains valuable vitamins and minerals, including calcium and iron. Also, I think it is notable to mention that the people of Okinawa, Japan regularly consume tofu – about 8 times more than we do in the US. This population is one of the worlds five “Blue Zones”, regions of the world where people live much longer than average. Following suit and including tofu, amongst other nutritious foods in our diets, like sweet potatoes and turmeric, may help us live longer!

This super simple tofu recipe has become my go-to. I used to pan-fry my tofu, but I found it would brown unevenly, and I would need to use significantly more oil to prevent it from sticking. By baking, I can just use spray oil! It gives the tofu that golden crispy exterior while still being soft on the inside. I usually make this recipe once a week to enjoy in a grain bowl or salad. I kept the seasonings minimal because I always add a flavorful sauce or dressing that the tofu picks up.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Drain the tofu and press between two plates lined with paper towels for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes.
  4. Spray the parchment paper lined baking sheet with avocado oil, then place the tofu cubes on the sheet.
  5. Add salt, pepper and adobo seasoning and another spray of avocado oil to coat. Toss with hands to evenly coat tofu cubes with seasoning.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Tofu should be golden brown and beginning to crisp on the edges.

If you guys try this tofu, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations! 🙂

Featured

Roasted Veggie and Hummus Collard Green Wraps (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Who else is ready for spring? Every year, when March rolls around, I always expect the warm weather to kick in. But in reality, it’s just another month of chilly temps and snowy weather. My first winter in Boston was pretty mild, but I can’t wait to pack up my puffy coats for the season! I notice my energy levels vary significantly based on the season. I have more energy and need a little less sleep during the warmer months, so I am ready to get out of this winter hibernation.

I tried to channel spring to come sooner by making the most colorful and vibrant meal I could imagine. I hadn’t made collard green wraps in FOREVER, so I decided to make some filled with lots of colorful ingredients, like roasted veggies and avocado. If you’ve never tried making collard wraps, don’t be intimidated! They are actually quite simple. Once my veggies were done roasting, I put these wraps together in 10 minutes!

The only issue I find with meals like collard wraps is they lack a substantial amount of protein. While I love including as many veggies as possible (hello, fiber!), it’s important that our meals also have adequate protein to keep us full and satiated. To up the protein content of these wraps, I used  in this recipe, and they were the perfect addition. The Sweet Heat Beet Veggie Burger is part of Dr. Praeger’s Pure Plant Protein line and has 19 grams of plant-based protein per serving, adding them made this recipe into a filling meal, rather than a light appetizer. In addition to the generous amount of protein, these burgers contain real, whole food ingredients you recognize and can pronounce, just like all of Dr. Praeger’s products.

If you guys are looking for an easy, nutritious and protein packed lunch, give these a try! This recipe makes 2 collard green wraps.

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, sliced in half crosswise, then lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
  • ½ tbsp avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large collard green leaves
  • 3 tbsp hummus
  • ½ avocado, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 Dr. Praeger’s Pure Plant Protein Sweet Heat Beet Veggie Burger
  • Handful of sprouts
  • 1 tbsp mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the zucchini and bell pepper to baking sheet and drizzle with avocado oil plus salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Roast for 20-30 minutes until fork tender, flipping halfway through.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the collard greens by washing them and using a paring knife to shave off as much of the stem as possible. This will make it easier to fold.
  4. Prepare veggie burger according to package instructions. Slice in half when done cooking.
  5. Once veggies are done roasting, let cool enough for handling.
  6. To prepare the wraps: spread 1 ½ tbsp hummus in the center of each collard leaf. Layer sliced avocado, zucchini, bell pepper, half of the veggie burger, sprouts and mustard evenly on each wrap. Tuck in the sides and roll.
  7. Use a sharp knife to slice wraps in half. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate and enjoy tomorrow.

If you try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations!

Thank you Dr. Praeger’s for sponsoring this blog post! I’m grateful to partner with brands I love to cook with, and all opinions are my own.

Featured

Whole Grain Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips, Cranberries and Blueberries

Banana bread is one of my all-time favorite treats. I could eat it every single day! I have fond memories of devouring my mom’s chocolate chip banana bread with my college roommates when she would bring a loaf during visits. I’ve wanted to create a more nutrient dense version of banana bread for years. I absolutely love my blender banana bread baked with almond flour, but it doesn’t have the same texture as traditional banana bread! I wanted this recipe to be one that really mimicked a good old fashioned loaf of banana bread.

You guys know I have a major sweet tooth, and in my eyes, no ingredients will be able to seamlessly recreate baking with real sugar, butter and flour. But, as a dietitian, it makes me so happy to create recipes that are similar to traditional ones, but with more nutritional bang for your buck! I always view these “healthier” desserts as additions to my diet, rather than complete replacements for the real thing. Because you know I’ll never pass up a slice of Flour Bakery banana bread!

I’m so amped for this recipe, because it really is so similar to a traditional banana bread! The texture is spot on, and it’s just sweet enough thanks to the ripe bananas and maple syrup. This was my first time baking with spelt flour, and honestly I don’t know why I haven’t used it before! Spelt flour is still a 100% whole grain flour, but it’s much lighter and sweeter tasting than whole wheat flour. I can already tell I like it better for recipes than whole wheat flour because of this when replacing refined flour in recipes. I also used Greek style yogurt in place of oil for this bread, and it turned out wonderfully. I’m a firm believer that banana bread is best with some add-ins, so I decided on both chocolate chips AND berries. Definitely a winning combo!

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups spelt flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup plain Greek style yogurt
  • ¼ cup milk of choice (I used oat milk)
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips + more for sprinkling on top
  • 1/3 cup frozen cranberry/blueberry blend + more for sprinkling on top (I used the Blueberry Blend by Cape Cod Select)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine spelt flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Combine the eggs, maple syrup, yogurt, milk and bananas in a bowl, whisking until smooth.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips and frozen berries.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and sprinkle the top with additional chocolate chips and berries.
  7. Bake for 50-70 minutes until edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely before slicing.

If you guys try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations! 🙂